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Thoughts on Konventions in general, and WI in Particular

September 16 2005 at 4:16 PM
Jim Sutton  (Login JimSutton)

Response to Wisconsin in 2007?

I have been reading the many emails on the past and future Konventions with particular interest, since I agreed to co-host the WI Konvention in 2007. There are some legitimate criticisms which have been presented, and some which are not valid. Let me present some preliminary thoughts on the WI Konvention, and try to address some of these issues.

First of all, I am not a rookie at this. I have attended the last six Konventions (HI, MD, OK, IL, WA and NH), so I am aware of what works and what doesn't. I also have been planning and managing major conferences and other functions for well over fifteen years, so I do have considerable background. Third, with my co-hosts Nikki Hemphill and Don Holmes, plus the support and review of the entire Board and other interested club members, we will bring considerable talent to bear on this effort.

In terms of the location and capacity of the dining facility, Ken Akerman's comments were exactly correct. If you look at a map of Wisconsin, you will note that there are not many large towns in the area of the highpoint. The closest locations (and I have checked also) are all about 40 miles away (or farther). There is nothing we can do about this unless we want to toally change the way we do the Konvention. A big tarp and a potluck doesn't work well when hundreds of people come from all over the country to attend (and just pray that it doesn't rain). I found the cost reasonable in view of the fact that we were in a very intense tourist area, on a holiday weekend, AND we got LOBSTER, for cryin' out loud. If we had gotten closer to the mountain, I would guess that our costs would have been even higher.

As far as the second room is concerned, it was the best we could do given the number of people attending (many club members are from the NE area of the country). If you ended up in the second room, it's because you registered late. Send it in early, and you shouldn't have a problem. It is also questionable as to whether we will get quite as many at WI as we did in NH, but we shall see...

Yes, the beer was cheap at WA, but that's because it was DONATED! The club sold it to make a little money. I also hope to get some beer and soft drinks donated for the WI Konvention, but we'll see what happens.

Many people have suggested improvements, and we are closely looking at these. We do intend to print the name tags on BOTH sides, so you can always tell who you're talking to (consider for NC as well?). We will NOT be having the Konvention on a holiday weekend, and, in deference to the many families who attend, it will probably be right around the end of July. We are looking at the idea of improving the Friday night process, so that people don't have to come to register, leave to find food elsewhere, and then come back for evening events. One possibility is a bratwurst BBQ Friday night. Would you be willing to pay $5.00 or so for that?

In summary, each year the organizing committee works their butts off to give us a great weekend. We can NEVER satisfy everyone, but each year we try to get better. The turnout and many positive comments indicate that they have done a good job. Each one of these Konventions is like a wedding: everyone has his or her own opinion on how it should be. I hope that we will have a FUN TIME in WI. That is certainly my intent. We are also looking at some new ways to do the highpoint (more on that later).

Keep sending in suggestions, and we'll address them as we can. If you don't like it, there are several options: don't come (bummer), keep complaining (bigger bummer) or jump in and lend a hand! There's plenty of work for everyone.

Thanks for listening. See you all in WI in 2007! JES

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